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BT Vision Adds First High Def Content

Gordon Kelly


BT Vision Adds First High Def Content

BT Vision certainly hasn't been the runaway hit the telecoms giant was hoping for so has this all come rather too late in the day...?

Following a short trial, from this month High Definition content will at long last be coming to the struggling platform in full Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Initial releases include The Other Boleyn Girl, The Hulk and Babe with new titles costing £4.95 per download and older titles £2.95 - though I'd personally count two of its highlighted releases as 'older' so we could do with a better description here.

Still, those of you afflicted with a V-box will find the whole process reasonably painless as the rather handy 'HD' letters will be stuck beside appropriate content and while new software is required to play these movies your V-boxes have been applying this silently since August and the upgrade nationally is now expected to be complete.

On the other hand, given all HD content is downloaded not streamed a great deal will rely on the bandwidth available to each user. BT says all films are encoded in 1080i and are roughly 8GB in size meaning you'll be in for a 9h+ wait on the average 2Mbit connection.

Could this be enough to save BT Vision? I think you've guessed our thoughts already...


1980 BT Vision HD FAQ


September 17, 2008, 1:49 pm

"Too little too late?"....someone has has been listening to a lot of "JoJo" lately. ;)

Matt G Baish

September 17, 2008, 2:34 pm

Too expensive!! What is the matter with *ALL* these pay per view companies? I can rent cheaper than that. I would say &#1632 for a new release and &#1631 otherwise then maybe they will have something compelling (i.e. a win-win; easy distribution and impulse-buy pluses for the providers and cheaper, simple to obtain films for us lot).

It may well be 'HD' - but we all know there are a plethora of different stuff that is labelled 'HD' willy-nilly; and the 1080i encoding does nothing to encourage me otherwise (why not the superior, IMHO, 720p?) - at 8 GB these will also likely be heavily compressed aka Sky 'HD'.

So for me - rent the DVD - or buy it in the case of kids films, since they generally get watched about a zillion times (actually I exaggerate a bit - the discs tend to pack in before the kids do!!! :))

Matt G Baish

September 17, 2008, 2:40 pm

To answer my own rhetorical question `why not the superior, IMHO, 720p?` I guess its because 1080i has roughly (as a educated guess) the same amount of information as in a 540p picture. Ho hum.


September 17, 2008, 4:12 pm

Shouldn't 100Hz processing on modern TVs help address the deficits of interlaced video? Of course it won't help with compression artefacts, however.

Technology changes, and so sho

September 17, 2008, 5:30 pm

When the HD standard was specified, studies were conducted to show that 1080i and 720p were roughly equivalent in terms of 'look'; interlacing does not have 'half' the resolution but is a compromise between static pictures and motion. The trouble, as Matt eluded, is the compression: the picture may look lovely in Hi-Def when still, but introduce movement and the compression has to put in artefacts to try to compensate for the reduced bandwidth of the source (yes the internal HDD has a high bandwidth, but the content does not, and one purposely limits the bandwidth to save on download time - if 9 hours can be called fast - and allow the box to be able to deal with multiple streams at once, like recording TV at the same time as watching a film).

Rather than too little too late, I'd say it was too much too early. This service cannot possibly be expected to work for consumers unless there is a national roll-out of fibre optic in whichever country it is deployed. In the meantime, BT need to try competing with the likes of YouTube and IMDb (or possibly tie-in with them). This service would be better waiting for BT to do a deal with the likes of Blockbuster to get a decent library ready for when broadband is fast enough. It can only be called a trial until then.

Matt G Baish

September 17, 2008, 6:48 pm

@Beaky69 - Not really - you are still only getting half the picture & then the TVs post-process that to 'guess' (i.e. de-interlace) the pictures - or does it add them up i can;t remember - whatever its NEVER going to be as good as 1080p o=for example.

On my TV 720P >>>>> better than 1080i (Sony TOTR a coupole a years ago)


September 18, 2008, 3:43 pm

@adoniteINK - clearly you. Who is Jojo?! It's a very old phrase ;)

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